TAMWORTH – Now in its 16th year, the Ice Harvest & Winter Carnival at the Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm is carving out pieces of the past.
Expected to draw some 400 visitors, the event is the largest of the site’s six annual fundraisers. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. (In the case of severe weather, the event will be moved to Sunday.)
“Remick’s ice harvest offers our visitors a way to step back in time,” said Cara Sutherland, the museum and farm’s executive director. “Learning how to cut blocks of ice and experiencing the process from pond to ice house gives you a greater appreciation for ‘ice on demand’ that we’re accustomed to, thanks to modern technology.”
The Ice Harvest & Winter Carnival showcases New England agricultural life and the historical practices, crafts, trades, traditions and pastimes that have been passed down through generations.
The celebration of those traditions and pastimes is due to the generosity and foresight of the late Dr. Edwin Crafts Remick. Together with his father, Dr. Edwin Remick Sr., Remick treated patients for a combined 99 consecutive years in an office inside the Capt. Enoch Remick House, named for a family ancestor and the first sheriff of Carroll County.
When the younger Remick graduated from Brewster Academy and later married a classmate, Marion Ella Miles, his father gave the couple a house in Tamworth Village that adjoined the family’s ancestral farm and was a short walk to the Capt. Enoch Remick House.
Remick, who had attended the University of New Hampshire for pre-medical studies and earned his doctorate from Tufts University, lived with his wife on the second floor of that house until his death. Farm workers lived on the first and third floors.
Now the Country Doctor Museum, the house on its first floor has a display of folk and modern medicines, some of which would be illegal today because they contained heroin and cocaine.
The living quarters of the young Dr. Remick and his spouse are neat, bright and tastefully decorated. Photos of race horses adorn a wall in a study that also features an antique radio, next to which is a modern compact-disc player that visitors are encouraged to turn on. The CD replays the Aug. 16, 1958, radio broadcast of the baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox; the Sox won 7-4, with Ted Williams going 0 for 4, but driving in a run, while Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle was 1 for 4, with a two-run homer.
Growing up, baseball was a passion for the second-generation Edwin Remick, according to a history by David Ruell called “Tamworth’s Country Doctors,” and his athleticism earned him a scholarship to Dartmouth College, thought it was negated by a shoulder injury.
As a country doctor, Remick was sometimes paid for his services in nonmonetary ways, said Dawne Gilpatrick, who is the marketing coordinator for the Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm. Among the way, Remick was paid in chickens, vegetables — including one particularly large cabbage — and land, she said.
In addition to practicing medicine, Remick also ran the family farm, which included a herd of dairy cattle, and as Ruell notes, he installed the first pasteurization plant in New Hampshire north of Rochester. Now a part of the farm and museum, the Hillsdale Dairy operated between 1934 and 1969.
Just prior to his death on July 20, 1993, Remick established the Edwin C. Remick Foundation to portray and preserve the medical practices and agricultural way of life of a country doctor.
The museum encompasses both the Capt. Enoch Remick and the Edwin C. Remick houses as well as outbuildings, including barns, sheds, a stable, ice house, milk house, maple sugaring house, gazebo and greenhouse, along with about 100 acres of fields, pastures, and woodlands.
This year, the ice harvest and carnival again will feature a hands-on experience in 19th-century ice harvesting, wherein ice will be cut from the museum pond, piked down a channel and hoisted onto a ramp before being stored in an ice house.
New this year are classic-car rides, courtesy of the Model T Snowmobile Club of Ossipee; a meet and greets with Chinook dogs; a winter camping demonstration by the Tamworth Outing Club; and an ice boat exhibit provided by the New Hampshire Boat Museum.
There will be a scavenger hunt and snow games as well as an area for attendees to build their own snow sculptures; music in the Hearth Room by the Brier Hill Band; and exhibits about ice harvesting, the Remick Family, and traditional and herbal medicine.
While supplies last, Remick-made foods will be for sale in the museum’s sugar house.
The Ice Harvest & Winter Carnival, said Sutherland, “has become our most popular event of the year. It’s a wonderful thing to see visitors of all ages excited to take a turn at cutting their very own block of ice. They sincerely love it and walk away with a real appreciation of how tough ice harvesting was back when it was a booming industry.”
Although the museum isn’t aware of Remick doing any ice harvesting himself, “we believe he would be thrilled to have current generations of people connecting with New Hampshire history and his beloved farm in this unique and fun way,” Sutherland said.
Admission to Saturday’s ice harvest and winter celebration is $10 for ages 11 and up, $5 for ages 5 to 10, and free for ages 4 and younger. Museum members receive $2 off the admission price.
For more information, call 323-7591 or visit www.remickmuseum.org.